RMT union demands inquiry into 'disastrous' job cuts on London Underground after man dies at station

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The RMT union is calling for an independent inquiry into “disastrous” job cuts on London Underground following the death of a passenger.

The major rail workers union said an improvement notice issued by the rail regulator following the incident at Canning Town in January proved that staffing levels were inadequate.

The ORR (Office of Rail and Road) improvement notice states: “… you have failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks to your employees, arising from lone working at these locations and you have failed to put in a safe system of work to avoid or control those risks.”

It comes after a 35-year-old IT expert named Bernard Ovu died from falling and hitting his head at the east London station. A woman also had her foot trapped between a train and the platform at the same station in May.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said job cuts on the Tube in recent years had been “disastrous”, adding: “The issuing of an improvement notice to LU by the ORR is no real surprise to RMT. It was however completely unavoidable.

“For over two years before the implementation of the Fit for the Future job cuts programme, RMT senior safety reps were warning the company that their plans for staffing at stations like Canning Town were completely inadequate and would lead to major safety incidents.

“The Mayor now needs to set up an independent inquiry into how London Underground were allow to cut so many staff , despite their own safety and legal expectations, and why they routinely and totally ignored legitimate and factually correct concerns and warnings from senior trade union safety reps who themselves are highly experienced operational railway workers.”

Brian Woodhead, Operations Director for London Underground, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr Ovu, and we have taken every action since his tragic death and the separate incident involving a female passenger to ensure the safety of our customers. Following a review of staffing levels in consultation with the trade unions we are now in the process of putting 325 additional new staff members on to our stations.

“Safety is our top priority and we will continue to monitor the level of staffing across our network to ensure that our customers are kept safe and receive the best possible level of service and assistance at all times.”


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